Los Angeles Soccer: Michael Tetteh
Major League Soccer's annual Generation adidas tour of Europe begins Monday, and the 18-man team Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes will guide includes Zarek Valentin, who would still be part of Chivas USA if he were still in the Generation adidas program.
Valentin, 20, who went to Montreal in last week's expansion draft, is one of four players “graduated” last month from the developmental program on the roster for the 10-day trip, which includes games against Ajax Amsterdam's reserve team, FC Volendam and Almere City FC. Vermes played for Volendam in 1990.
The other “graduates” are Columbus midfielder Dilly Duka and Tony Tchani and Philadelphia forward Danny Mwanga.
Garden Grove's Luis Gil (Santiago HS), a rising midfielder with Real Salt Lake, Philadelphia midfielder Amobi Okugo (UCLA) and Seattle defender Michael Tetteh (UC Santa Barbara) are among continuing GA players on the roster.
MLS's decision to “graduate” Valentin from the GA program led the Goats to leave him exposed in the expansion draft, where he was nabbed by Montreal coach Jesse Marsch, a former Chivas captain. Galaxy coach Robin Fraser last week said it “extremely baffling” and said he was “extremely, extremely disappointed” to see Valentin, 20, pulled from the program.
GA players do not count against clubs' salary caps nor roster sizes.
MLS officials have not addressed the reasoning behind the decision despite requests to do so.
The GA roster is bolstered by former GA Kevin Alston, a defender for New England, and three Home Grown Players: New York's Sacir Hot and Matt Kassel and D.C. United's Conor Shanosky.
Quartet finds employment
- Michael Tetteh (UC Santa Barbara): Top left back in the draft lasted into the second round, was taken by Seattle with the 20th selection.
- Michael Farfan (North Carolina): The playmaker from Wildomar (Cal State Fullerton) saw his stock drop considerably after a poor combine. Philadelphia took him with the 23rd pick, the last of the Generation adidas players to go.
- Hector Jimenez (California): Midfielder from Bell Gardens (Bell Gardens HS) is headed home, snapped up by the Galaxy in the second round (34th pick)
- Davis Paul (California): The forward from Upland (Damien HS), Jimenez's teammate at Arsenal FC in Alta Loma, heads to Chicago in the third round, with the 51st of 54 picks.
Who waited … and waited ...
- Michael Boxall (UC Santa Barbara): The New Zealand national-teamer went into the combine regarded among the top center backs, but his weaknesses -- struggles to keep up with fast forwards, questionable decision-making, an inability to play out of the back -- really hurt him. And his foreign status doesn't help either.
- Amani Walker (UC Irvine): Target forward didn't offer a good enough glimpse of himself during the combine and dropped further down the depth chart. He's a good bet for the supplemental draft.
Up for grabs in Tuesday's second draft
- Rafael Baca (Loyola Marymount): The wing-midfielder from Lawndale (Animo Leadership HS) would make a nice pickup for some MLS club.
- Corey Attaway (UC Irvine): Hard-working, versatile midfielder from Chino (Chino Hills HS) deserved a combine invite, is going to play somewhere.
The Galaxy made Hector Jimenez, a Cal midfielder from Bell Gardens, their second selection in Major League Soccer's draft Thursday, then traded away their final pick.
Chivas USA added depth with their last selection, and Yorba Linda's Steven Lenhart headed west in a trade.
Jimenez, a winger with skill and strong creative instincts, was taken with the 34th overall selection. The two-time All-Pacific 10 Conference first-teamer, who played at Arsenal FC and for Bell Gardens High School, had five goals and 28 assists in four years at Cal.
L.A. traded its third-round pick to D.C. United for two first-round selections in Tuesday's supplemental draft.
Chivas USA used its third-round selection, No. 40 overall, on versatile Brown midfielder Jon Okafor.
Four local players were drafted -- UC Santa Barbara's Michael Tetteh (by Seattle), former Cal State Fullerton midfielder Michael Farfan (by Philadelphia) and Jimenez in the second round, and Upland's Davis Paul (by Chicago), from Cal, in the third.
Lenhart (Esperanza HS/Azusa Pacific) was traded from Columbus to San Jose for the No. 15 pick in the draft, whch the Crew used to acquire University of Michigan forward Justin Meram.
Here are the local picks:
1/16 Paolo Cardozo (Quilmes/Argentina), M
2/34 Hector Jimenez (California), M
+ F Chad Barrett, trade from Toronto FC for future considerations
1/4 Zarek Valentin (Akron), D (GA)
1/14 Victor Estupiņan (LDU Quito/Ecuador), F
3/40 Jon Okafor (Brown), M/D
2/20 Seattle: Michael Tetteh (UC Santa Barbara), M, Los Olivos (Dunn School), GA
2/23 Philadelphia: Michael Farfan (North Carolina), M, Wildomar (Cal State Fullerton), GA
2/34 Galaxy: Hector Jimenez (California), M, Bell Gardens (Bell Gardens HS)
3/51 Chicago: Davis Paul (California), F/M, Upland (Damien HS)
Several teams, the Galaxy included, could be looking to move up in the draft -- the first half-dozen or so players would help anybody, and there are a few more role players available in a class that might be better than first thought.
The draft has shrunk to just three rounds -- 54 picks -- but those not selected will be available in a four-round supplemental draft Tuesday.
And on to the picks:
Here are the top five propsects with SoCal roots (and seven more who could slip in):
1. MICHAEL TETTEH (UC Santa Barbara)
The Ghanaian speedster, who went to the Dunn School in Los Olivos, went into the combine as the top-ranked left back, and two subpar outings weren't enough to change that. He's raw, but Tetteh's otherworldy pace and a Generation adidas contract, which means he won't count against roster size nor cap, makes him a coveted prospect.
The former Cal State Fullerton playmaker from Windomar, in Riverside County, is a two-time All-American with U.S. youth national team experience, but there are concerns about how quickly he can raise his game under heavy pressure, and he did himself no favors during the combine. But he's got the skill and there's no denying his body of work in Chapel Hill.
3. MICHAEL BOXALL (UC Santa Barbara)
The New Zealander has extensive experience -- he's already appeared for the Kiwis' national team -- but he appeared to slip down the center-back depth chart with a hit-and-mostly-miss combine. That likely dropped him out of first-round contention, but his play for the Gauchos will aid his cause.
4. HECTOR JIMENEZ (California)
The wing-midfielder from Bell Gardens (Bell Gardens HS) has great touch, combines well and has the skill to create. He enjoyed a solid combine, especially the first two days, with Bears teammate Demetrius Omphroy providing support.
5. RAFAEL BACA (Loyola Marymount)
The midfielder from Lanwndale (Animo Leadership HS) was a surprise omission from the combine, but the former Galaxy U-20 player could be a nice fit for a team looking for a right-sided winger. His coach with the Lions, Paul Krumpe, has no doubts: “He can be a fantastic wide midfielder at the next level. Talk about a guy with a ridiculous amount of workrate. He's solid through and through.”
M Corey Attaway (UC Irvine)/Chino (Chino Hills HS)
D Joel Bagby (UC Irvine)/Huntington Beach (Edison HS)
M/D Gray Bailey (UC Irvine)/Huntington Beach (Huntington Beach HS)
F Tomislav Colic (Vanguard)
*F Davis Paul (California)/Upland (Damien HS)
F Spencer Thompson (UC Irvine)
*F Amani Walker (UC Irvine)
* Attended combine
Major League Soccer's technical staffs are in Fort Lauderdale the next four days to assess top draft prospects at the league's annual combine. Seventy players have been divided among four teams, and doubleheaders will be played Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday.
The draft, with three rounds of 18 picks apiece, is Thursday in Baltimore. Chivas USA has the fourth overall selection, and the Galaxy will pick 16th.
Ten players, nine of them college underclassmen plus 17-year-old forward Omar Salgado, who signed with the league when he was forced to depart Club Deportivo Guadalajara after committing to the U.S. under-20 national team, are on Generation adidas contracts and will count neither against the roster size nor salary cap for the clubs that select them. GA players traditionally are among the most talented and coveted in the draft.
The list includes UC Santa Barbara junior Michael Tetteh, a Ghanaian midfielder who prepped at the Dunn School in Los Olivos. Five GAs -- including Darlington Nagbe and Perry Kitchen, widely seen as the top two prospects in the draft -- come from NCAA champion Akron. Also among the group is defender Zarek Valentin, whose brother, Julian, was a defender for the Galaxy in 2008-09.
Four GAs -- Salgado, Kitchen, Valentin and Maryland goalkeeper Zac MacMath -- will miss the combine while playing for the U.S. U-20s. Nagbe, who on Friday won the Hermann Trophy as college soccer's top player, also will skip the conbine.
Five foreign players who did not play at U.S. colleges are in the combine, including forward John Rooney, the brother of Manchester United superstar Wayne Rooney. John Rooney spent time on trial with the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers to prepare for the draft.